In July, I was in Door County for a weekend, and I knew before I left that I’d have to go cherry picking. Door County tart cherries are the best in the world (I don’t have a study that determines that, but they must be) and I wanted to go to one of those pick-your-own places to get some for canning. I wanted to make loads and loads of cherry pie filling that I could use throughout the holiday season.
Unfortunately, when I got to the orchard, the sky turned and torrential rain started up. Why doesn’t the universe want me to pick cherries? Still, I was dedicated. I decided to wait until the rain let up just enough, and I picked about 10 pounds of cherries in the rain. I am that crazy. The trees were pretty picked over, and I was wearing a dress, cowboy boots and a soaked sweatshirt, but two hours later I was walking out with a boatload of cherries.
I used this recipe and made very tasty pie filling: Ball Cherry Pie Filling
Here are my tips for cherry pie filling, outside of the obvious advice to not pick for hours in the rain:
- Make sure to stir the mixture fast. ClearJel sets up very quickly and you need to keep stirring to keep up.
- Overestimating the cups of cherries is better than underestimating. I had a little more than the directions said and I still ended up getting 7 ½ pints instead of 8 out of the yield.
- For a quick dessert, you can put cherry pie filling in tortillas or crescent rolls and make hand pies, or turnovers or whatever you want to call them. Dust them with cinnamon sugar to help even out the tart nature of the cherries better.